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Roast duck with crisp skin

jyang949's picture

Some recipes call for pouring boiling water over duck before roasting, to make the skin shrink:

(In addition, you can refrigerate the duck, uncovered, for a day to let the skin dry out.)

How does shrinking the skin help it crisp up in the oven?


snivsl's picture

crisp skin on duck (post #71036, reply #1 of 7)

I believe Cook's Illustrated had an issue for this where the duck was steamed on the cooktop and then roasted in the oven.

jyang949's picture

Thanks, I will look for the (post #71036, reply #2 of 7)

Thanks, I will look for the magazine at the library.

I saw the "shrink the skin" technique in a Chinese cookbook. That was decades ago, when I was trying to make Peking Duck at home. The recipe also called for inserting a tube just under the skin and inflating the duck like a football! The purpose of inflating the duck was to make the skin separate from the meat. That allowed the fat to drain and the skin to get crispier.

It must be a standard technique for Peking Duck, because when I went to a Chinese butcher, he didn't bat an eye when I asked if he would blow up a duck. The task required two men!--one to apply the air compressor, and the other to hold onto the duck so it wouldn't take off like a bullet. 


GretchenTHE FIRST's picture

Look up Ming Tsai's recipe. (post #71036, reply #3 of 7)

Look up Ming Tsai's recipe. That is what he does. Not really too practical for the home.

Pielove's picture

fat.. (post #71036, reply #4 of 7)

Hey Janet!

I think the boiling water, and the steaming method, both help to render some of the fat that is under the skin-- my understanding is that you need to get rid of a lot of that fat to allow the skin to crisp up.  So, are you making roast duck?


jyang949's picture

I haven't bought the duck (post #71036, reply #5 of 7)

I haven't bought the duck yet, but I will be making a roast duck. I like fat--duck skin, butter, whipped cream, etc.


Gretchen50's picture

My mother made a delicious (post #71036, reply #6 of 7)

My mother made a delicious roast duck. It needs to be roasted at a fairly high temp and prick the lower part of the legs to let the fat drain out. The skin was wonderfully crisp and brown. And of course, don't forget to save the duck fat. Fry some potatoes in that bit of melted gold.

I don't know how many you will be serving so I am sure you are aware that a duck wil only serve about 3 people.

Pielove's picture

duck... (post #71036, reply #7 of 7)

Gretchen, that sounds great-- I don't usually bother with roast duck because there is a great restaurant here in Chicago that makes amazing Peking Duck.  (Sun Wah, for any Chicagoans that might be reading).  Do you have to take off some of the fat from the pan while it's roasting?

Janet, I look forward to hearing about your duck!